- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack :: Review by Don and Bryan

Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack Album Title: Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPCA-10201/2
Release Date: February 25, 2009
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


The Street Fighter series has a long history. In its 22 year history, its featured a variety of games. There are the numbered games, the Alpha series, the EX series, and the VS. series which pits Capcom against other companies. The original Street Fighter was released in 1987. In it, you controlled a single character, Ryu as he fought around the world in a martial arts tournament. If a second player joined in, they would control Ken. In 1991, Street Fighter II was released after a failed attempt to market Final Fight as the next Street Fighter game. A major step up from its predecessor, the original Street Fighter II featured eight selectable characters, each with their own movesets. This proved to be popular and this game was the stepping stone into the Street Fighter franchise. This game also featured various remakes in its time, adding new characters into the mix. Many also regard this game to have the best music in the series.

The next in the numbered series, Street Fighter III, was released in 1997, six years after the original Street Fighter II was released. While I haven't really heard the music to this series, I'd imagine many of the fans of Street Fighter II were disappointed, especially since many of the characters from the former games were absent. Now, 12 years later, Street Fighter IV was released to much rejoicing. Including most of the Street Fighter II cast, some new characters, and some additions from the Alpha series, it was Capcom's attempt to revive the franchise. The soundtrack is composed and arranged by Hideyuki Fukusawa, of Chaos Legion and Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams fame, features original works as well as arrangements of Street Fighter II music. What kind of soundscapes should you expect from this soundtrack? A variety for sure, but is there an underlying focus throughout and does it manage to impress as much as Street Fighter II's soundtrack did in 1991? You'll have to read on to find out.


Hideyuki Fukusawa creates a variety of fresh and original stage themes. While they all have an electronica driven sound, the fact that Fukusawa manages to instill regional influences into each of the stage themes is rather impressive and helps give a nice uniqueness to each of the tracks. Starting off in the frozen tundra, "Snowy Rail Yard Stage -Russia-" manages to fuse together some catchy electronica beats and synth lines with a melody that focuses on woodwinds and plucked strings, giving it a gypsy-like style. It's one of my favorite stage themes, mainly due to the beat and the synth line that bridges together the more earthly tones of the piece. As we take a caravan into Europe, we decide to take a cruise. "Cruise Ship Stern Stage -Europe-" is an entirely electronica based stage theme. One might ask, well, how does this have any regional influences? Well, the style of the electronica seems to be heavily influenced by the popular Eurobeat style. While it's one of the less melodically focused pieces, it still manages to create a nice fighting atmosphere through the use of its catchy rhythms and synth lines.

Our cruise ship docks in the United Kingdom, specifically Scotland, as we take a tour of a brewing facility. "Historic Distillery Stage -Scotland-" is one of the least electronica-infused stage themes on the album. It features some epic percussion work infused with some subtle electronica. The melody line, however, features a nice fusion of strings and brass and boasts a very nice melody. The most striking aspect of this theme, however, is the use of bagpipes to give it that nice Scottish sound. Well, now that our tour of Europe is over, let's head over the pond and visit the United States to see a movie in a drive-in theater. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to a fight, but man, the music that played was awesome. "Drive-in at Night -USA-" is a nice fusion of piano and electronica. The bass line is almost in a house/trance mix style and the piano has some very subtle jazz influences in the piano line. It's one of the slower paced melody lines and it almost carries an ethereal sound to the piano. Perhaps this is the influence that Fukusawa was going for, but it is the hardest theme to discern, in my opinion.

Sadly, that was the only thing worth seeing in the United States, so the tour group decided to go to South America to visit the Amazon. After many hours of boating eastward on the Amazon and narrowly avoiding piranhas and anacondas, the group stops for a tour of Brazil. They decide to go to the jungle for the day to try to see some wild-life. "Inland Jungle Stage -Brazil-" features a fairly static bass line, but it meshes quite well with the exotic jungle sound heard in the melody line. The string work is really exotic, and almost gives it a Middle Eastern tinge to it. It's quite nice. They depart from the jungle, but not realizing what time it was, it starts to get dark so they have to stop for the night. There was some tension in the group with fingers pointing at various people for blame about the current situation, so a small fracas among the party occurs. Someone managed to bring a boombox and a DJ stand (don't ask questions!) and decided to remix Brazil's theme music. "Pitch-black Jungle Stage -Brazil-" ups the intensity of original theme. Featuring a much more club-like bass line and electric guitar lines in the lead, it manages to one-up its original. It's also one of my favorite themes. The next day, the tour group finally manages to exit the jungle. However, their world wide tour was far from over!

Booking the next flight they could, they headed to Africa for a safari. Unfortunately, their plane encountered some trouble and they had to land in a small airfield. Ultimately blaming the pilot, another brawl was brewing. "Small Airfield Stage -Africa-" is a nice fusion of electronica and more earthly tones. The combination of tribal chanting, percussion, and woodwind work help give this theme a distinct character that really makes it stand out from some of the other themes heard. Upon the conclusion of their African tour, skipping the safari sadly, they decide to head to Asia. Arriving in Vietnam early in the morning, they decide to take a trip on the bay and notice a slight fog over the bay. "Morning Mist Bay Stage -Vietnam-" was what the boat captain decided to play. The group was quite impressed with the captain's taste in music. It was a nice mix of driving electronica with some heavenly piano lines that help to capture a nice serenity of the water. Upset with the slight fog, the group stayed out on the bay until it cleared up and they were greeted with a beautiful sight. In the distance they saw a tribe and overheard some chanting and some exotic instrumentation. "Beautiful Bay Stage -Vietnam-" features some interesting chanting combined with some almost sitar like string work. The percussion, while subtle compared to the electronica beat from the captain's stereo, managed to create an interesting fusion of sounds. The group was rather impressed with this modern meets tribal approach.

Upon departing Vietnam, the group decides to make a quick stop in China to shop for souvenirs. Upon entering the city, they made their way downtown, but found out there was quite a bit of pedestrian traffic. "Crowded Downtown Stage -China-" was filled with interesting sights and sounds. In one section, the group heard classical Chinese instruments being played by some elders, while as they traveled further down the road, they found a group of younger kids playing some more modern dance tracks. Ironically enough, right in the middle of the market, they were able to get a nice fusion of these sounds and the intermingling of sounds created an exhilarating experience. Shopping took a little longer than necessary so afterwards, they decided to eat dinner at a place off the beaten path. Upon exiting the restaurant, they found themselves in a back alley. "Run-down Back Alley Stage -China-" was definitely a more mysterious area. In the distance, they could hear a pulsing rhythm from a local club, while the group of elders they had heard playing earlier changed up their instrumentation a bit to craft another exotic remix of their earlier session.

Nearing the end of their journey, they decide to travel to Japan. Upon arriving, they wanted to see what Shinto was all about so they decided to visit a nearby temple. "Old Temple Stage -Japan-" is a nice interesting fusion of sounds. While the electronica bass line is ultimately catchy, I'm more impressed by the excellent incorporation of classical Japanese instruments, such as the shakuhachi and shamisen, into the piece. It helps give it a nice Old World feel to it. After overhearing one of the locals, they decide to travel to another temple. Unfortunately, this temple was a bit on the rundown side. "Deserted Temple Stage -Japan-" was a bit more mysterious in nature. It maintained the use of the shamisen and shakuhachi, but rather than being intense, the mellow usage of these instruments helped differentiate it from the Old Temple theme. The tour had finally come to an end, so the group headed off to the airport in Tokyo. Unfortunately, their bus broke down on the highway so they had to wait a bit. While they were waiting, they heard some music coming from under the overpass. Stepping out of the bus, they looked down to see a friendly brawl taking place. What really piqued their interest, however, was how much more modern the music sounded compared to their temple escapades. "Overpass Stage -Tokyo-" is a nice dance theme that has a heavy focus on vocoder usage. It seems to capture the fetish that most electronica composers have with it and is a fitting theme to represent modern Tokyo, in a sense. It also happens to be my favorite theme.

Hooray! Arriving at the airport, they board their plane and head back home. As the passengers were sleeping, there was a plane malfunction and they landed somewhere in Oceania. Floating for a couple days in the life rafts, they eventually make landfall on a volcanic island. Serving as the theme of Street Fighter IV, "Volcano Rim Stage -Street Fighter IV-" manages to rock out with a nice fusion of electric guitar and electronica beats. It's an exhilarating theme that manages to capture the intensity of the fighting game quite well. It also should be in a Mega Man X game because it is stylistically similar. With no way to leave the island, eventually they are all burned to death by the liquid hot magma, but in the end, they had no regrets. It was a great trip and they got to experience a ton of great music.

Now that crazy Don is finished with his section of the review, I'm going to try to normalize the review with my section, the character themes. Fukasawa took an unexpected approach for the character themes. While the past games focused heavily on matching the character's style, Fukasawa starts with an electronic base and builds the authenticity on top of that. This gives the album a more cohesive feel than most others prior. I've always felt the music for the past entries were a tad disjointed, albeit a bit more fitting. The best thing about this entry, though, is the fact that Fukasawa was able to create a perfect image of the characters we all know and love while making the somewhat overused themes sound fresh and new. The perfect example of what I just mentioned is "Chun-Li Theme". The track has a heavy Chinese sound to it, while layering an electronic beat under it. This is one of my least favorites, however, as it doesn't seem to do a whole lot past that. A better fusion remix is "Cammy Theme". This one rides strongly on the original theme, but rips out the feel and replaces it with a techno beat, wailing guitars, and a eurobeat inspired piano harmony. This is the definition of a "catchy" piece; it's just so hard to stop listening!

While those mentioned so far have fit the bill perfectly for what one would expect from this album, the next few pieces really broke the mold for what you would have normally expected from the Street Fighter series. We will start with "Guile Theme". The track is structurally the same as the original, but the entire feel of the track has changed. The brass intro has been changed to a percussive loop. The electric guitar section has been changed to some really cool synth. The best part, though, is the newly composed interlude, where a piano and acoustic guitar gives us a welcome break from the electronica. It is an amazing arrangement if you ask me, even if it was totally unexpected. The bassy "Vega Theme" (who is actually M. Bison, for those of you unaware of the name changes between Eastern and Western releases) has been altered to take on an extremely heavy techno feel. This one really doesn't do anything too exciting, but the power behind the bass loop in the harmony is plenty enough to get you pumped up. There are also memorable versions of the theme for Akuma in the menacing "Gouki Theme" and the enchanted "Gouken Theme". The blend of Japanese instrument solos, tribal chanting, and hard electronic beats is very well done in both themes.

Things don't always stick with the pack and several tracks really set themselves apart for the rest by stepping outside the defined lines we've discussed so far. The character theme that changed the most is probably "Ken Theme". The track begins as though it is going to be a techno based piece, but that is quickly dropped for a solo bass guitar intro, which is then followed by the synth melody. This piece fuses some of the best implementations of rock and electronica on the album. It also boasts a very nice piano interlude just like "Guile Theme". This is yet another must listen, as it will drastically change the image of Ken as he's been known thus far. From the Street Fighter Alpha series, "Sakura Theme" is much more different than the rest of these. It still has an electronic beat, but the melody is taken by a violin with a piano taking up most of the harmony. The chorus section is a softer form of the synth used in the other tracks, and it all goes together making for a very serene character theme. The last one I'll mention is "Zangief Theme". This one does totally drop the electronic sound in favor of a more fitting jazz piece. We get to hear some great bass work mixed with a really nice saxophone melody. I wasn't expecting this at all, but looking back on the original theme this arrangement couldn't have been more perfect for Zangief.

There are also a number of new character themes featured on the soundtrack. For "El Fuerte Theme", Fukasawa melds so many different styles into one track. The piece begins with a Spanish flair, but quickly converts to a rock based melody. We still have a hint of an Asian feel to this piece as well, but I don't really know what that is symbolizing. "C. Viper Theme" stays relatively close to the rest of the tracks, but is still noteworthy. It begins with a similar hard rock / electronica intro like the rest of the pieces, but features a change for the melody. A distorted choir takes up the majority of the theme here, mixed with the piano and guitar we've heard so much of so far. It may sound like a strange combo, but it has grown to be one of my favorites on here. The character theme section ends with two remixes of "Ryu Theme" to accompany his decisive encounters with two antagonists. "Gouki VS Ryu Theme" is a straightforward arrangement in the style of an action movie with bold brass, epic percussion, and serene interludes. "Gouken VS Ryu Theme" ups the pace, intensifies the chord progressions, and integrates all sorts of traditional and tribal influences; a splendid blend of features from both Akuma's and Ryu's themes.


So, our journey is over. I have to say that this one of the best musical adventures I've experienced in quite some time now. Hideyuki Fukasawa wasn't really too well known before this, but I think he deserves a lot more exposure now. He has taken music from a 22 year old series and transformed it into something hip, modern, and unique. This is something you don't get to say for many other game music artists these days. I have heard a few complaints that Fukasawa deviated from the originals too much in his character theme arrangements, but I believe it's a welcome change that really shows a different side to this game that wasn't easily picked up until now. I highly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of the series. Newcomers should also find this experience an exhilarating one that will be at the top of their playlists for quite some time now.

Overall Score: 10/10